Stay Safe in Tanzania
In Arusha, Stone Town (Zanzibar), and Dar es Salaam, like in many poor countries, care should always be used, especially in tourist areas. Foreigners are often targeted by violent crime, especially those who travel alone at night, which is not advised. Con artists and pickpockets are also prevalent. Pickpockets frequent busy markets and bus terminals, such as Kariakoo. Don’t be misled by young children who are often coerced into a life of crime by older children or parents; never carry valuables in your pockets, and don’t wear costly photographic equipment around your neck. When you’re at the beach, don’t leave your luggage unattended or even out of sight.
Details may be found in the articles for each region or city.
Avoid lonely places in general, particularly after dark. It is safer to travel in big groups. You should be reasonably secure if there are a lot of people or security personnel nearby (e.g. city center locations).
Traveling a taxi with a known driver is the safest option, especially when it’s dark outside (late night or early morning). Taxi drivers have been known to rob tourists, but this is not frequent. Get the phone number of a reputable cab from your hotel or a local.
Robbers have halted buses on long-distance (often nighttime) trips on a rare occasion. If you must go a long distance by bus, it may be more cost-effective to divide it up into several day excursions, or to fly or train.
The police may or may not make a significant attempt to identify the perpetrators in the case of an incident, but getting a police record is required if you intend to file an insurance claim later or if critical papers are taken. Check the police record to see whether your documents were taken; if they weren’t, you may have trouble leaving the country. If your passport is stolen, you should notify your local embassy or consulate right once.
Because Tanzania has few sidewalks, stay aware of the traffic and be prepared to get out of the way if necessary, as cars do not make much attempt to avoid pedestrians. Cars take precedence in Tanzania.
When touts, salespeople, and dealers approach you and say “jambo,” the easiest method to avoid them is to either say nothing or say “thank you” or “asante” and go on. Some people may be insulted by the word “no,” while persistent touts will be encouraged by any sort of contact.
Corruption is a problem in Tanzania, as it is in many underdeveloped nations. Police officers are underpaid, with many earning less than $40 a month. An official ready to overlook your violation, whether manufactured or not, may approach you for a bribe. Some tourists are reluctant to paying bribes to anybody, particularly in a nation where there are so many poor yet honest people.
Impersonating police, often in the form of a “immigration officer” who notices an issue with your papers, is a common scam. They’ll show you official-looking documents. There are, nevertheless, a large number of plainclothes police. If you are faced with someone in uniform, it is almost likely that they are a real cop.
Bribes are often referred to as “on-the-spot fines.” Those remarks are intended to start a discussion about money. You may be informed that the true amount is TSh40,000 or more, and that if you pay TSh20,000 or 30,000 right now, you may be on your way without having to go to the Police Station to pay a larger fine.
If you’re confident you’re in the right and don’t want to pay a bribe, consider the following options:
- Other individuals should be involved. Fraudsters and corrupt authorities are reluctant to carry out their plans in front of a large group of people. Under the guise of not understanding the police, you may seek assistance from onlookers.
- Invoke the help of higher powers. Insisting on going to the local police station to resolve an illegitimate problem is a smart approach to get rid of it. Suggestions for a visit to your country’s embassy (for example, to have an official there assist interpret the discussion owing to a lack of understanding of the local language and legislation) are also useful. They typically have a terrified expression on their face at this stage since they don’t want any actual authorities involved. Bribes are prohibited, and there is a corruption bureau where they may be reported.
- Play dumb. Even if you do, politely explain that you don’t comprehend the nature of the violation. Tanzanians are indirect, preferring to suggest rather than ask directly what they want. Even if it’s your 100th visit, tell them you’ve just recently arrived in the nation. If you know any Kiswahili, keep it to yourself. It’s possible that it’ll only make things worse.
- Make a request for a receipt with an official stamp, which is likely to be greeted with bewilderment and worry. The goal is to demonstrate that you are unaware that this is a bribe and that you are just trying to follow the regulations. They may send you on your way after 10 or 20 minutes of a circular, but always courteous, discussion. A word of warning regarding this strategy. Corrupt authorities have taken notice, and one individual who requested a receipt was informed that the cashier’s office was closed and would not reopen until the following morning. It was either pay the fine or spend the night in jail. This does not seem to be a bluff on the officer’s side. The fine was paid, but there was no receipt. Keep in mind that the game is always evolving.
Also take in mind the following:
- Discussing money or negotiating a fine may give the impression that you are aware of the conversation’s context (i.e. you are willing to pay a bribe).
- Directly accusing the officer of corruption is likely to backfire; it’s critical that you give the officer a chance to save face.
- If you insist on traveling to the police station, you may be required to provide transportation for the officer. This may not be a smart idea if you are alone, and particularly if the “cop” is in plainclothes. If you are alone and are approached by many individuals, refuse to get into their car and insist on getting a cab. And after you’ve arrived at the station, just pay the fee and demand a receipt. This may wind up costing you more than the bribe, but at the very least, this policeman will not be able to extract any money from you, and he or she will be less likely to flag down other foreigners. Also, show respect for their authority by never raising your voice, swearing, or insulting them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re correct or not at that moment.
Excessive force incidents involving visitors are uncommon, but that doesn’t imply they don’t happen. For example, police officers have been known to be inebriated while on duty, which may severely impair their capacity to think. It’s better to be safe than sorry in any scenario when someone is attempting to extort money from you by force or threat of force; it’s just money.
Stay Healthy in Tanzania
Illnesses and diseases
The AIDS/HIV infection rate is high, as it is in most African nations. Tanzania’s HIV/AIDS infection rate was 9% as of the end of 2003, according to UNAIDS. However, this number is misleading since HIV infection rates in certain groups, including artisanal miners, nomadic fishermen, truck drivers, and sex workers, are considerably higher than the national average. In Tanzania, or anyplace else for that matter, do not engage in unprotected sex.
Malaria, after food-borne diseases, should be your first worry. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is endemic to Tanzania. You may be in danger in virtually any region of the nation, but the risk is reduced at elevations over 2000 meters. Especially during the rainy season, extreme caution should be used between sunset and dawn. Always sleep beneath a treated net, wear long slacks and closed-toed shoes, and apply an efficient insect repellent. Many big hotels do not automatically put mosquito nets in their rooms, which is incredible. A call to reception seeking one, on the other hand, is seldom disregarded. The nets may have many big holes, but covering the holes with adhesive tape or tying a tiny knot should suffice.
You should also contact a physician before going for Tanzania about taking anti-malarial medicine before, during, and after your trip. If you do acquire malaria despite your best efforts, it is generally treatable with medicine that is widely accessible across the nation. If you’re going to be in a remote area, you may want to stop by a clinic and buy a batch. It’s important to keep in mind that malaria symptoms may take up to two weeks to appear. Any fever lasting longer than a day should be reason for worry and require a trip to the clinic for a malaria test, according to the rule of thumb for ex-pats residing in Tanzania. If you exhibit symptoms of a potential malaria infection after returning home, tell your doctor that you visited a malaria-infected nation.
Typhoid and cholera are two more important diseases to avoid. Typhoid may be prevented in principle by carefully choosing foods and beverages and avoiding the ingestion of anything filthy. Typhoid infection is characterized by ‘persistent, high fevers…headache, malaise, anorexia, splenomegaly, and relative bradycardia,’ according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Cholera is characterized by vomiting and uncontrolled bowel motions, which may cause dehydration and death in as little as 48 hours. It is critical to get medical help as soon as possible. Cholera outbreaks are more or less a seasonal occurrence in Zanzibar, with epidemics occurring most often during the rainy season. For both typhoid and cholera, vaccines and/or oral prophylaxis are available.
Yellow fever is a serious viral infection spread by the bite of a certain mosquito. Although it is not as prevalent as malaria, it is still a dangerous illness, and visitors visiting Africa should speak with their doctor about being vaccinated. If you intend to travel to other countries following your stay in Tanzania, keep in mind that certain countries, such as South Africa, may demand evidence of Yellow Fever vaccination before allowing you to enter. You will be given two choices if you aren’t or can’t prove it: 1) Get vaccinated for Yellow Fever at the airport, and 2) leave the country right away. Because the Yellow Fever vaccination (like any other cavvine) may have adverse effects in certain individuals, you may choose to receive it in your own country under under supervision. Most doctors will not provide the Yellow Fever vaccination to children under the age of one year, and a letter from a doctor stating this will guarantee that your baby does not get it at the airport. – Individuals traveling to Tanzania from INDIA Because the yellow fever vaccine is in limited supply in India, please be vaccinated as soon as you arrive at Dar-ES-airport. Salaam’s
Traveler’s diarrhea, often known as gastrointestinal distress, is caused by one, many, or all of the following factors: Changes in diet, tiredness, dehydration, and excessive alcohol use are all linked to unsanitary food preparation and storage. The best defense is prevention. Eat only raw, peelable vegetables and fruits that have been washed in clean water. Avoid food that seems to have been left out in the open for a long period of time on the street or at a restaurant. Only eat food that has been freshly fried or steamed. Only consume bottled water, which is widely accessible throughout the nation. You should even use it to clean your teeth. If you must drink tap or well water, boil it for at least 10 minutes or filter it well.
Rift Valley Fever (RFV) was discovered in the Kilimanjaro region in January 2007. A number of people died in the region after consuming unpasteurized milk and poorly prepared meat from sick animals. Despite the infection’s limited spread, beef sales fell significantly throughout the nation after the fatalities. Meat served at expensive restaurants is often of higher grade. When consuming street food or in isolated locations, however, caution should be used.
Insects and Animals
Tanzania is home to a variety of poisonous and lethal insects and animals, including Black and Green Mambas, scorpions, spiders, stinging ants, lions, sharks, and other dangerous creatures. Unless you know what you’re doing, you should avoid strolling through tall grass, visiting national parks, or putting your hand under rocks or into dark crevices. In reality, the chances of coming across these or other comparable threats are little to none.
The mosquito is the bug or animal that most inhabitants are afraid of.
Tanzania’s hospitals and clinics do not match Western standards. You will have to be transported to Kenya, South Africa, or Europe if you need surgery or any other major medical treatment. You should double-check that your medical insurance covers such costs. Outside of Dar es Salaam, and particularly outside of the major cities and towns, getting even basic medical care will be difficult, since many physicians are undertrained and/or have inadequate equipment and medicines. You should keep your own medical kit on hand to tide you over in the event of an emergency. Even common illnesses like malaria have a high rate of misdiagnosis, with up to 70% of cases being misdiagnosed.
A few clinics in Dar es Salaam are manned by western-trained doctors. Some surgical operations, however, still need evacuation from Tanzania.
- IST Medical Clinic: Just off Haile Selassie Road past the Chole Road intersection, behind the International School of Tanganyika, Msasani Pinensula, Tel: +255 22 260 1307, Emergency: +255 754 783 393.
- Premier Care Clinic Limited: 259 Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road, Namanga, Kinondoni, P.O. Box 220, Dar es Salaam, Tel: +255 22 266 8385, Mobile: +255 748 254 642.
- Aga Khan Hospital: Corner of Ocean Road & Sea View Road, Tel: +255 22 211 5151.
- Bugando Hospital, Mwanza, Tanzania Tel: +255 68 40610. The University College of Health Sciences at Bugando Medical Center is established as a Catholic college having four schools: Medical, Nursing, Pharmacotherapy and Dental.
- Mbeya Referral Hospital, PO Box 419, Mbeya, Tanzania Tel: +255 65 3576.
- Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, PO Box 338, Zanzibar, Tanzania Tel: +255 54 31071.
Other Government run hospitals used for electives:
- Hindu Mandal Hospital, PO Box 581, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Tel: +255 51 110237/110428.
- Agha Khan Hospital, PO Box 2289, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Tel: +255 51 114096.
- Nachingwea District General Hospital, Nachingwea, Lindi, South Tanzania
- Teule District Designated Hospital, Muheza, Tanga Region, Tanzania.
- Berega Mission Hospital, Berega, Morogoro, Tanzania.
- St Anne’s Hospital, PO Box 2, Liuli (via Songea), Tanzania (connected via USPG charity).
- St Francis Hospital, Kwo Mkono, Handeni District, Tanzania.
- A flying doctor service is based in Arusha, Tel: +255 2548578.
For any medical issues please don’t hesitate to contact: Ministry of Health, PO Box 9083, Dar es Salaam Tel: +255 51 20261 Fax: 51 39951